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Papal intervention quells dispute over Roman Rota procedures

March 09, 2017

According to Vatican-watcher Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa, Pope Francis reportedly intervened to head off a dispute over procedures in the Roman Rota: a dispute that might have brought the Vatican into conflict with European courts.

The dispute began when Msgr. Pio Vito Pinto, the dean of the Roman Rota, announced that only canon lawyers who had his personal approval could argue cases before the tribunal, which is the Church’s top appeals court. That policy prompted outcries from lawyers who were not admitted to the tribunals, and from appellants who wanted to be represented by advocates of their own choosing.

The decision by Msgr. Pinto also created a risk that the Vatican would be found in violation of its concordat with the Italian government, and the European Convention on Human Rights, both of which stipulate that parties to litigation should be free to choose their own lawyers.

Tornielli reports that in February, Pope Francis intervened to overturn Msgr. Pinto’s policy, allowing appellants to choose their own canon lawyers to represent them before the Roman Rota.

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  • Posted by: a son of Mary - Mar. 16, 2017 3:30 PM ET USA

    The Pope has complained bitterly about the Curia et al and while I don't understand most if it, I do understand that it's a mess. So another little dictator in a collar. Will these guys ever wise up? I don't think so. They need to do some hard time at 3/4 rough parishes and learning what it's like for real priests not these upper caste types.

  • Posted by: rpp - Mar. 10, 2017 9:59 AM ET USA

    What on Earth, and it certainly is on Earth, was Msgr Pinto's motivation for creating such a clearly unfair policy? I am dumbfounded.

  • Posted by: feedback - Mar. 10, 2017 7:07 AM ET USA

    It seems that Rev. Pio Vito Pinto needs to be sent to a completely different assignment - far away from the Roman Rota, and preferably far away from the Vatican.